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PD-1 Antibody Demonstrated Encouraging Activity in Metastatic Melanoma

PD-1 Antibody Demonstrated Encouraging Activity in Metastatic Melanoma | Melanoma Dispatch | Scoop.it

"Heavily pretreated patients with metastatic melanoma who received the humanized anti-PD-1 monoclonal antibody pidilizumab demonstrated encouraging rates of 12-month OS, according to results of a phase 2 study presented at the ASCO Annual Meeting.


“ 'Activity was previously seen [with pidilizumab] in two lymphoma populations in phase 2 studies,' researcher Michael B. Atkins, MD, deputy director of Georgetown-Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center in Washington, and professor of oncology and medicine at Georgetown University School of Medicine, said during a presentation. 'Correlative studies in those lymphoma populations supported a PD-1/PD-L1–linked mechanism of action, and importantly there was no change or an increase in PD-1–positive CD4 and CD8 lymphocytes and CD14 monocytes following the drug, excludingantibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity of PD-1–positive cells as a consequence of therapy.' "


Editor's note: Pidilizumab is a new drug that that might benefit people with metastatic melanoma who have already been heavily treated. A recent clinical trial testing it in volunteer patients found some promising results, but further studies will be needed to see how to use pidilizumab most effectively, in terms of dosage and combining it with other drugs. Pidilizumab is an "anti-PD-1" immunotherapy, meaning that it interacts with a protein called PD-1 to boost a patient's own immune system to fight cancer. Learn more about immunotherapy treatments for melanoma at our Need to Know blog.

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Healio  |  Jun 24, 2014

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Adjuvant Ipilimumab Improved RFS in High-Risk, Stage III Melanoma

Adjuvant Ipilimumab Improved RFS in High-Risk, Stage III Melanoma | Melanoma Dispatch | Scoop.it

"Adjuvant ipilimumab significantly improved RFS compared with placebo among patients with resected stage III melanoma who were at high risk for recurrence, according to the final analysis of a phase 3 study presented at the ASCO Annual Meeting.


“ 'Although there are approved adjuvant therapies, they are still to be improved, and this is clearly an unmet need,' researcher Alexander Eggermont, MD, PhD, director general of the Gustave Roussy Cancer Campus Grand Paris in France, said during a press conference. 'Ipilimumab is the first drug approved for metastatic melanoma, based on a proven impact on OS. This is the first trial ever with a drug that had an improvement in OS in metastatic melanoma.' "


Editor's note: Patients with advanced melanoma who have their tumors removed by surgery ("resected") can be at high risk for recurrence of their cancer. In a clinical trial with volunteer patients, researchers are testing an "adjuvant" treatment meant to prevent recurrence. All patients had resected stage III melanoma. It was found that patients who took the drug ipilimumab (Yervoy) after resection had a significantly greater amount of time pass before recurrence than patients who took a placebo. Further follow-up of the patients will reveal effects on overall survival.

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Healio  |  Jun 10, 2014

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Study Shows Castle Biosciences’ Gene Expression Profile Test Successfully Identified High Risk Disease in a Cohort of 217 Melanoma Patients Who Underwent Sentinel Lymph Node Biopsy

"Castle Biosciences Inc. today announced results of a 217-patient study demonstrating that its gene expression profile (GEP) test, DecisionDx-Melanoma, identified primary cutaneous (skin) melanoma tumors that were sentinel lymph node biopsy negative but were at high risk of metastasis. The GEP test also identified tumors that were unlikely to become metastatic, independent of nodal status. The data are being reviewed today at the 50th Annual Meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) in the Melanoma/Skin Cancers Poster Highlights Session by David H. Lawson, M.D., Professor of Hematology and Medical Oncology, Winship Cancer Institute, Emory University."


Editor's note: More and more, doctors are using molecular testing methods to make diagnoses and guide treatment decisions. Now, molecular testing can help determine whether a melanoma tumor is likely to metastasize (spread to other parts of the body). A procedure called sentinel lymph node biopsy is commonly used to measure the severity of a melanoma diagnosis; a "negative" sentinel node biopsy indicates low risk of metastasis. But some patients with negative sentinel node biopsies still go on to experience metastasis. A new molecular test called DecisionDx-Melanoma can identify cutaneous melanoma tumors that are at risk of metastasizing, regardless of sentinel node biopsy results. The test analyzes the activity of 31 genes in a tumor to determine risk of metastasis.

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Yahoo! Finance  |  Jun 4, 2014

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Celldex Therapeutics' Varlilumab Continues to Demonstrate Very Favorable Profile

Celldex Therapeutics' Varlilumab Continues to Demonstrate Very Favorable Profile | Melanoma Dispatch | Scoop.it

"Celldex Therapeutics, Inc. (Nasdaq:CLDX) today reported data from its ongoing Phase 1 study of the fully human monoclonal antibody varlilumab (CDX-1127) in cancer. Varlilumab is an immunotherapy designed to enhance the body's natural immune response by directly activating T cells that can specifically recognize and kill cancer cells. Preclinical data support the broad study of varlilumab in combination with a number of other anti-cancer agents including but not limited to checkpoint inhibitors, chemotherapies, targeted therapies and vaccines. Varlilumab will enter at least four combination studies in the second half of 2014."


Editor's note: As mentioned above, varlilumab is an immunotherapy that works by boosting a patient's own immune system to fight cancer. In a clinical trial testing the drug in volunteer patients, it shown promise for treating several different types of cancer, including metastatic melanoma.

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Celldex  |  Jun 2, 2014

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Varlilumab shows clinical activity in Phase I trial.

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Amgen Presents New Data On Talimogene Laherparepvec As Single Agent And Combination Therapy In Metastatic Melanoma At ASCO

Amgen Presents New Data On Talimogene Laherparepvec As Single Agent And Combination Therapy In Metastatic Melanoma At ASCO | Melanoma Dispatch | Scoop.it

"Amgen today announced new data from two key clinical trials that support the potential of talimogene laherparepvec, a novel, investigational oncolytic immunotherapy, as both a single agent and as part of a combination regimen in patients with metastatic melanoma. The findings were presented at the 50th Annual Meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) in Chicago."


Editor's note: This article describes promising results for a melanoma treatment called talimogene laherparepvec (T-VEC), an immunotherapy that boosts a patient's own immune system to fight cancer. Previous testing of the drug has found mixed results.

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MarketWatch  |  Jun 2, 2014

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New Therapies Harness Power of the Immune System Against Cancer

New Therapies Harness Power of the Immune System Against Cancer | Melanoma Dispatch | Scoop.it

"New research on innovative immunotherapies for advanced or high-risk melanoma and cervical cancer were presented today at the 50th Annual Meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO). These treatments – used alone or in combination – fight cancer by activating and amplifying the body's immune response to the disease.


"The new studies find high activity with investigative drugs for advanced melanoma, and show for the first time that ipilimumab, a treatment already approved for advanced melanoma, can substantially decrease the risk of melanoma recurrence in certain patients with earlier-stage disease. In addition, another small trial reports that a one-time, personalized immunotherapy treatment induces complete and long-lasting remissions in a small number of women with advanced cervical cancer – a disease with little to no effective treatment options."


Editor's note: Immunotherapies are treatments that boost a patient's own immune system to fight cancer. Learn more.

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Medical Xpress  |  Jun 2, 2014

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NeoStem Presents Data at ASCO Annual Meeting

"NeoStem, Inc., a leader in the emerging cellular therapy industry, today announced results of a pooled analysis indicating that Melapuldencel-T, an investigational patient-specific immunotherapy for metastatic melanoma, may increase survival rates significantly for patients at the most advanced stages of the disease. The findings will be presented on Sunday, June 1 in a poster by Robert O. Dillman, MD, study author and Vice-President, NeoStem Oncology, at the 50th Annual Meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), taking place in Chicago."


Editor's note: This is a press release from a company that manufactures an immunotherapy treatment for melanoma. The treatment, called Melapuldencel-T, is meant to boost a patient's own immune system to fight cancer. A recent study testing Melapuldencel-T in patients found promising results for the treatment.

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NeoStem  |  May 29, 2014

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Patients with Primary Invasive Melanoma at Increased Risk for Subsequent Invasive Melanoma

Patients with Primary Invasive Melanoma at Increased Risk for Subsequent Invasive Melanoma | Melanoma Dispatch | Scoop.it

"Patients with a primary invasive or in situ melanoma had a significantly increased relative risk for developing a subsequent invasive melanoma, according to recent study results.


"Danny R. Youlden, BSc, and fellow researchers used population-based data for melanoma diagnoses collected by the Queensland Cancer Registry in Australia to conduct a retrospective cohort study. All Queensland residents aged 15 years and older diagnosed with a first primary invasive or in situ melanoma between 1982 and 2005 were included. There were 39,668 cases of first primary invasive melanoma (55.8% male) and 22,845 cases of first primary in situ melanoma (54.4% male) identified through 2010."

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Healio  |  May 19, 2014

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Patient’s Cells Deployed to Attack Aggressive Cancer

Patient’s Cells Deployed to Attack Aggressive Cancer | Melanoma Dispatch | Scoop.it

"Doctors have taken an important step toward a long-sought goal: harnessing a person’s own immune system to fight cancer.


"An article published Thursday in the journal Science describes the treatment of a 43-year-old woman with an advanced and deadly type of cancer that had spread from her bile duct to her liver and lungs, despite chemotherapy.


"Researchers at the National Cancer Institute sequenced the genome of her cancer and identified cells from her immune system that attacked a specific mutation in the malignant cells. Then they grew those immune cells in the laboratory and infused billions of them back into her bloodstream.

"The tumors began 'melting away,' said Dr. Steven A. Rosenberg, the senior author of the article and chief of the surgery branch at the cancer institute."


Editor's note: This story is about an "immunotherapy" technique meant to boost a patient's own immune system to fight cancer. Learn more about immunotherapy here.

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New York Times  |  May 8, 2014

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New York Times  |  May 8, 2014

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Dabrafenib Improved Quality of Life in Patients with Metastatic Melanoma

Dabrafenib Improved Quality of Life in Patients with Metastatic Melanoma | Melanoma Dispatch | Scoop.it

"Patients with metastatic melanoma treated with dabrafenib demonstrated improved quality of life compared with those who received dacarbazine, according to phase 3 study results.


"Initial analyses of the BREAK-3 trial indicated dabrafenib (Tafinlar; GlaxoSmithKline) prolonged median PFS compared with dacarbazine (DTIC) in patients with BRAFV600E-mutant metastatic melanoma (5.1 months vs. 2.7 months; HR=0.30; 95% CI, 0.18-0.53)."

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Healio  |  May 2, 2014

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UPDATE 1-EU Agency Backs Approval of New GlaxoSmithKline Melanoma Drug

"GlaxoSmithKline's melanoma drug Mekinist - one of several drugs being sold to Novartis under an asset swap deal - has been recommended for approval by European regulators.


"The European Medicines Agency (EMA) said on Friday its experts had backed the drug, also known as trametinib, as a treatment for unresectable or metastatic melanoma in patients with a mutation of a gene known as BRAF."

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Reuters  |  Apr 25, 2014

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Brain Metastases in Melanoma Require Multidisciplinary Approach

Brain Metastases in Melanoma Require Multidisciplinary Approach | Melanoma Dispatch | Scoop.it

Brain metastases are responsible for the majority of mortality and morbidity among patients with melanoma, and a multidisciplinary approach is necessary to effectively manage this complication, according to a presenter at the HemOnc Today Melanoma and Cutaneous Malignancies meeting.


“ 'This subject has not been well studied. This is the question that people didn’t want to address, but now people are taking on this task,' Geoffrey T. Gibney, MD, a medical oncologist in the department of cutaneous oncology at Moffitt Cancer Center, said during a presentation."


Editor's note: This article is a good summary of brain metastasis in melanoma.

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Healio  |  Apr 12, 2014

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Immunotherapy, BRAF Inhibitor Sequence Affected Outcomes in Metastatic Melanoma

Immunotherapy, BRAF Inhibitor Sequence Affected Outcomes in Metastatic Melanoma | Melanoma Dispatch | Scoop.it

"Prior treatment with immunotherapy did not limit response to BRAF inhibitors among patients with metastatic melanoma, according to results of a retrospective study.


"However, patients who underwent initial treatment with BRAF inhibitors and subsequently received immunotherapy with ipilimumab (Yervoy, Bristol-Myers Squibb) demonstrated poorer outcomes, results showed.


"Patients with BRAF-positive metastatic melanoma have several treatment options, including BRAF inhibitors vemurafenib (Zelboraf, Hoffmann-La Roche) and dabrafenib  (Taflinar, GlaxoSmithKline), the MEK inhibitor trametinib (Mekinist, GlaxoSmithKline), and the immunotherapy agents ipilimumab and interleukin-2. Yet, there are limited data with regard to optimal sequencing, according to researchers."

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Healio  |  Mar 14, 2014

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Prior treatment with BRAF inhibitors reduced subsequent response to immunotherapy. Prior treatment with ipilimumab had no effect on response to BRAF inhibitors.

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NICE Proposes Ipilimumab as a First Treatment for Advanced Skin Cancer

NICE Proposes Ipilimumab as a First Treatment for Advanced Skin Cancer | Melanoma Dispatch | Scoop.it

"People with advanced skin cancer should be able to receive ipilimumab as a first treatment, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) proposes.


"In final draft guidance, NICE recommends that the drug ipilimumab (also called Yervoy and manufactured by Bristol-Myers Squibb Pharmaceuticals Limited) is made available on the NHS as a first-line treatment for patients with advanced malignant melanoma which is either unresectable (when the full tumour cannot be removed) or metastatic (the cancer has spread to other parts of the body).


"Sir Andrew Dillon, NICE chief executive, said: 'We already recommend ipilimumab as a second-line treatment and so we are pleased to be able to propose extending that recommendation to first line treatment too.' "


Editor's note: The UK's public healthcare system is required to provide funding for treatments recommended by NICE. To learn more about targeted melanoma drugs like ipilimumab, read The Basics.

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NICE  |  Jun 12, 2014

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Few Circulating Cancer Cells Could Cue Risk of Metastases

"A simple noninvasive blood test matched with state-of-the-art molecular imaging of individual cells could help oncologists understand their patients' chances of survival, say researchers. Metastasis accounts for an estimated 90 percent of cancer deaths. For decades, researchers tried to develop a way to gauge a cancer's risk of metastasizing from a blood sample -- the long-sought-after liquid biopsy."

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ScienceDaily  |  Jun 9, 2014

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Tumor Size is Defining Factor to Response from Promising Melanoma Drug

Tumor Size is Defining Factor to Response from Promising Melanoma Drug | Melanoma Dispatch | Scoop.it

"In examining why some advanced melanoma patients respond so well to the experimental immunotherapy MK-3475, while others have a less robust response, researchers at Mayo Clinic in Florida found that the size of tumors before treatment was the strongest variable.


"They say their findings, being presented June 2 at the 50th annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), offered several clinical insights that could lead to different treatment strategies and perhaps influence staging of advanced melanoma."


Editor's note: MK-3475 is a promising new immunotherapy drug that boosts a patient's own immune system to fight cancer. It works very well for some patients, and not so well for others. New research shows that doctors may be able to predict whether MK-3475 will work well or not based on the size of a patient's tumors before treatment. Patients who had a large total volume of tumors were less likely to respond well to the drug, no matter where in the body those tumors were found.

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Medical Xpress  |  Jun 2, 2014

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Incyte : Announces Preliminary Results of a Phase I/II Study of Combination Immunotherapy in Patients with Melanoma

"Incyte Corporation (Nasdaq: INCY) today announced that preliminary results from an ongoing Phase I/II study of INCB24360, its oral indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase 1 (IDO1) inhibitor, combined with ipilimumab in patients with unresectable or metastatic melanoma were presented at the 50th Annual Meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), May 30 to June 3, 2014, in Chicago. The poster reported initial findings showing that the combination was generally well tolerated and produced evidence of clinical response."

Editor's note: This article discusses a new treatment for melanoma that combines a drug called INCB24360 with the drug ipilimumab (Yervoy). Both drugs are immunotherapies, meaning they boost a patient's own immune system to fight cancer. A clinical trial testing the combo in volunteer patients found promising preliminary results.
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New System for Treating Cancer Seen as Hopeful

New System for Treating Cancer Seen as Hopeful | Melanoma Dispatch | Scoop.it

"Drugs that unleash the body’s immune system to combat tumors could allow patients with advanced melanoma to live far longer than ever before, researchers gathered at the nation’s largest cancer conference say.


“ 'It’s a completely different world for patients with metastatic melanoma, to talk about the majority of patients being alive for years rather than weeks or months,' said Dr. Jedd D. Wolchok, a melanoma specialist at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, interviewed at the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology here."


Editor's note: This is a good exploration of immunotherapy treatments for melanoma; immunotherapy for lung cancer is also discussed.

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The New York Times  |  Jun 2, 2014

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The New York Times  |  Jun 2, 2014

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Combination Dabrafenib/Trametinib Increased PFS in BRAF-Positive Melanoma

Combination Dabrafenib/Trametinib Increased PFS in BRAF-Positive Melanoma | Melanoma Dispatch | Scoop.it

"Data from a phase 3 trial demonstrate combination dabrafenib and trametinib was superior to dabrafenib plus placebo for improved PFS in patients with BRAFV600-positive metastatic melanoma, according to data presented here at the ASCO Annual Meeting.


“ 'This is the first melanoma trial, phase 3, to have an active control arm,' researcher Georgina V. Long, BSc, PhD, MBBS, FRCP, oncologist at Melanoma Institute Australia at the University of Sydney, said of the COMBI-D trial."


Editor's note: This story describes the results of a clinical trial, in which volunteer patients are help test a new treatment. The treatment consists of a combination of the targeted therapy drugs dabrafenib and trametinib. Patients treated with the combination lived longer without progression of their cancer than patients who received dabrafenib plus a non-active placebo. Importantly, these results are specific to patients whose tumors have "BRAF V600E" mutations, which doctors can detect via molecular testing.

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Healio  |  Jun 2, 2014

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FDA Grants Merck’s Anti-PD1 Antibody Priority Review

FDA Grants Merck’s Anti-PD1 Antibody Priority Review | Melanoma Dispatch | Scoop.it

"The FDA has granted Merck’s anti-PD1 antibody MK-3475 a priority review designation for the treatment of unresectable or metastatic melanoma in patients who have previously been treated with ipilimumab. Priority review status is reserved for drugs considered to offer a significant improvement in the safety or efficacy of the treatment of a serious condition. It will shorten the drug’s FDA review period from 10 months to 6 months."


Editor's note: MK-3475 is an immunotherapy drug that works by boosting a patient's own immune system to fight cancer. Once it is approved by the FDA for unresectable or metastatic melanoma, doctors in the U.S. will be able to prescribe it to their patients outside of the clinical trial system.

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Cancer Network  |  May 21, 2014

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10 Issues to Consider During National Skin Cancer Awareness Month

10 Issues to Consider During National Skin Cancer Awareness Month | Melanoma Dispatch | Scoop.it

"Accounting for approximately half of all cancers in the United States, skin cancer is widely recognized as the most common cause of cancer nationwide. More than 3.5 million cases of skin cancer are diagnosed each year, and according to the Skin Cancer Foundation, incidences of skin cancer outnumber all combined cases of breast, colon, lung and prostate cancers.


"With the month of May designated as National Skin Cancer Awareness Month, HemOnc Today highlights 10 issues for oncologists and dermatologists to consider for their patients, as well as the new guideline revisions and research regarding the identification, treatment and management of patients with melanoma and skin cancer."

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Healio  |  May 15, 2014

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Focused Ultrasound Reduces Cancer Pain

Focused Ultrasound Reduces Cancer Pain | Melanoma Dispatch | Scoop.it

"When cancer progresses and spreads to the bone, patients often suffer debilitating pain. Now, a new phase III clinical trial shows that non-invasive magnetic resonance guided focused ultrasound treatment that heats the cancer within the bone, relieves pain and improves function for most patients when other treatment options are limited."

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ScienceDaily  |  May 5, 2014

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Tambre Leighn's curator insight, May 24, 2014 3:38 PM

Love seeing breakthroughs that contribute to improved qualify of life for survivors.

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Future of Cancer Treatments

Future of Cancer Treatments | Melanoma Dispatch | Scoop.it

"The news spurred hundreds of phone calls and emails to Comprehensive Cancer Centers of Nevada from across the country: Two Stage 4 cancer patients at the Las Vegas center, after participating in the first human trial of an antibody drug with the unwieldy code name of MPDL 3280A, were now cancer-free.


"Rosemary Rathbun, 78, had been so far gone with throat cancer that doctors told her to enroll in hospice. Lorrine Rodgers, 56, had been told there were no other treatments for her spreading breast cancer.


"That their cancer disappeared, the women said in January, was a miracle."


Editor's note: This story is a great overview of an increasingly promising type of cancer treatment called immunotherapy. Immunotherapy treatments boost a patient's own immune system to fight cancer.

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Las Vegas Review-Journal  |  Apr 26, 2014

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Las Vegas Review-Journal  |  Apr 26, 2014

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Skin Cancer Rates Five Times Higher Than in 70s

Skin Cancer Rates Five Times Higher Than in 70s | Melanoma Dispatch | Scoop.it

"The rates of people diagnosed with malignant melanoma, the most serious form of skin cancer, are now five times higher than 40 years ago, according to figures announced by Cancer Research UK.


"More than 13,000 people are now developing the disease every year compared with around 1,800 in 1975.


"The latest incidence rates show around 17 people in every 100,000 are diagnosed with malignant melanoma in Great Britain every year. This is compared to just over 3 per 100,000 in the mid 70s."

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Medical Xpress  |  Apr 23, 2014

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Non-Invasive Gene Expression Profile Test Shown to Identify Sentinel Lymph Node Negative Melanoma Patients at High Risk of Metastasis

"Castle Biosciences Inc. has announced study results showing its gene expression profile (GEP) test (DecisionDx-Melanoma) can identify primary cutaneous (skin) melanoma tumors that are likely to metastasize in patients who had a negative sentinel lymph node biopsy. The data are being presented at the Latest in Dermatology Research Symposium session of the 72nd Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Dermatology. The DecisionDx-Melanoma test completed validation in 2013 and is widely used to determine metastatic risk in Stage I and II melanoma patients."

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Medical News Today  |  Mar 25, 2014

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